The CT 200h is Lexus' latest hybrid. The five-seater is a four-door hatch with a gas/electric drivetrain that powers the front wheels. Competitors include conventionally powered models like the Volvo C30 and Mini Cooper Clubman.
Lexus says the CT 200h grew out of the recent LF-Ch concept car that was first seen last fall at the Frankfurt auto show. The production version's resemblance is close to the concept — and from some angles, the Mazda3 hatchback. The wheels measure 17 inches in diameter.
The front sport bucket seats are separated by a wide center console that rises to meet the dashboard. The cabin features real metal trim and a synthetic material designed to feel like leather. Real leather upholstery is optional.
Standard features include a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, a power driver's seat with memory, and a CD stereo with auxiliary and USB ports and Bluetooth streaming audio. Options include a moonroof and a navigation system with a backup camera.
Under the Hood
The CT 200h has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that works with an electric motor/generator to make a combined 134 horsepower. Drivers can switch among four modes — Normal, Eco, EV (electric vehicle) and Sport — that are designed to alter the car's drivetrain performance. Eco mode also modifies the car's air conditioning for lower fuel use, while Sport quickens the car's steering. In a nod to the Sport mode's performance intentions, one of the gauges in the instrument cluster changes from a charge/assist meter to a tachometer when it's selected.
Standard safety features include antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags, front knee airbags and an electronic stability system. The optional Pre-Collision System cinches the front seat belts and readies the brake assist feature for more stopping power when it's determined a crash is imminent.